Safety Connect vs AAA vs AARP vs AMEX?

Discussion in 'Prius v Main Forum' started by rhanson739, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. rhanson739

    rhanson739 is loving the new Prihicle

    Jun 8, 2008
    Eastern N.C.
    2008 Prius
    Alphabet soup. I'm hoping someone can help me work through some options:

    I'm a new owner of a 2013 Prius v Five. It's a fantastic auto, and we're lovin' every minute of it.

    We received a notice from Toyota that we hadn't activated the Safety Connect feature. So much for it being done at the dealership before we left. I called Toyota and enrolled for SC, on the 1-year complementary subscription. Cool... now I have SC available, when I thought I already had.

    I've been a long-time AAA member. Fortunately, I've only had occasion to use them once or twice for roadside assistance, with the commensurate long wait for a truck to come by. I've also taken advantage of a couple of discounts at hotels, knocking the bill down by a few bucks. All in all, I haven't used AAA to full advantage with respect to trip planning, air travel, rental cars, trip insurance, etc.

    I am, however, also an AARP member, and also recently got an Amex card with travel-based rewards (Blue Sky.) We anticipate future international air travel, hotels, rental cars, etc.

    It seems to me that since Toyota is 'outsourcing' road assistance to AAA -- as I understand it -- my AAA membership is likely redundant. Perhaps I can sit down with all the different plans in order to compare the various benefits and figure out where I'm covered, but perhaps there's a simple solution that others have already come upon:

    Dump AAA?

    My guess is that I can pick up some of AAA's advantages in other plans such as SC, AARP, and Amex. Does anyone have experience with this decision?

  2. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

    Sep 19, 2006
    Northern VA (NoVA)
    2006 Prius
    hmm...we're members of all the same stuff (except the Toyota thing)...I do not know...over the years we've used the AAA to good advantage. I'll check with the boss on if AAA still makes sense...I am thinking our kids still use it too for emergency if needed. And they have long since left the nest, if you know what I mean.
  3. jae

    jae Junior Member

    Jun 11, 2013
    Philadelphia, PA
    2013 Prius v wagon
    I have been wondering the same thing. I'm not close to the end of our Safety Connect trial yet, but I'm wondering the benefits of SC vs AAA.

    The one thing that sticks out for SC is the automatic crash notification, right? I'm interested to hear what others are thinking.
  4. rhanson739

    rhanson739 is loving the new Prihicle

    Jun 8, 2008
    Eastern N.C.
    2008 Prius
    Well, given that others are wondering the same thing, I thought I'd collate some information. I'm not sure if there's a clear choice; many services overlap, and some are offered by only one provider.

    The basics:

    AAA Plus: $89/year Key advantage: 100 mile tow, Extrication, Locksmith, Accident Insurance, trip planning
    AARP: $16/year Key advantage: Discounts.
    SC: $140/year Stolen vehicle locator, Automatic Collision Notification, Emergency Assistance
    Amex Blue Sky, n/c Points, car rental and purchase protection

    AAA has a lengthy list of benefits (see some below), but they provide a a level of benefit well beyond what SC would provide, including most road-related incidents (battery, gas, locksmith, etc.) Travel accident insurance to 300K, and $1000 auto theft reward are nice. There are many travel planning tools available on the AAA site. Lots of discounts available at 10-20% levels for hotels, Amtrak and other travel methods.

    SC. You just harvested a telephone pole with your Prius. If possible, you'll get the voice-from-above in your car asking if you're okay, and emergency services will be directed to your location. Roadside assistance is available, but I didn't see where levels of service were spelled out... are they as comprehensive as AAA? Doubtful. But someone just stole your vehicle (I don't know why; it was all banged up.) The Stolen Vehicle Locator might help you get the car back sooner, and with less damage. Or, say you have a medical emergency, or saw someone else with a problem: Why bother typing 9-1-1 on your phone when you can push just one button? If it looks really bad, though, do both.

    The key advantage for AARP is discounts. They have tons of discounts, generally between 5-20%. I don't think they'll do much for you if you're stuck at the side of the road. You can easily make up your subscription fee in one or two purchases. There's a regular publication discussing issues for mature people, and AARP lobbies on behalf of seniors.

    Amex has some nice features, but they're mostly points-rewards and purchase protection. I'll consider this to be the apples to the above oranges, as they won't do much for road-related issues.

    All things considered, I think I'll keep both AAA and Safety Connect. The telemetric features of SC seem too important to pass up. While it's pricey at $140/year (multi-year discounts are available), it's like buying insurance: You hope you never need it, but if you do.... And AAA seems to offer more roadside services, discounts, and trip planning opportunities, most of which are not available through SC.

    AARP? It's inexpensive. What the heck? Book one hotel with an AARP discount and you've likely paid for the yearly.


    Data Collected:

    Plus Membership $89/year, $30 each associate
    100 mile tow
    Free spare installation
    Free battery boost
    Extrication - 2 trucks, 2 drivers
    Free Delivery and Free Fuel
    $100 Locksmith services
    Maps, Tourbook Guides, Select Intl Guides
    Travel Accident Insurance, $300,000
    $1,000 auto theft reward
    Trip Interruption up to $500
    Legal Defense $100
    Vacation Planning Services
    Maps and Tourbooks
    Car Care Centers
    Insurance Services
    Various discount services: No fee traveller's checks, 10% Amtrak, 20% Best Western, 10% Hampton, 20% Hertz, 5% Hilton, 10% Hyatt, Visa Travel Money Card.

    1 year $16
    10% Hampton, 20% Aloft, etc.
    Many types of discounts
    Travel discounts
    Health Products
    Insurance Products
    Financial Services
    10% off Kindle
    ADT Security 10%
    Legal Services
    Travel Center

    $139.95 per year, long subscription discounts.
    Emergency Assistance (911)
    Stolen Vehicle Locator
    Roadside Assistance
    Automatic Collision Notification

    Airline, hotel, cruise, car rental Points
    Global Assist Hotline, help with visas, cash, lost luggage, more
    Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
    purchase protection
    Return protection
    Extended warrantyI
    Bab F, bythesea, jae and 1 other person like this.